You know how sometimes, no matter how many times people tell you something is bad for you, you just need to realize it and come to terms with it on your own before you’re willing to do anything about it? That bad relationship, smoking, losing weight.. Whatever the thing is, and no matter how many times people warn you or try to help you, in order to truly do something about it for good, you have to decide for yourself. Then it’s a whole new ball game.
That’s what happened to me and my relationship with sugar this week.
Sugar is one of the hottest topics in health, fitness, and weight loss at the moment. There are countless articles about why it is one of the most horrible things for your body. While sugar is fat free, there are claims that a diet full of fat is better than a diet full of sugar. I’ve been reading all of these articles (like the one I found this morning) for quite some time knowing that there is plenty of truth to them, but unwilling to admit that I was one of many that had a problem or suffered the consequences of excessive sugar intake. After all, I rocked the Weight Watchers Points Plus program. I knew exactly what foods to eat that kept me in my Points budget and still gave me treats that satisfied my sweet tooth. I am nowhere near diabetic, and while I have some weight to lose (again), I’m not in any danger health-wise. This sugar thing didn’t effect me at all… or so I thought.
After quite a physical and emotional struggle for awhile now, the other day I made a Facebook and Instagram post where I basically declared that I had finally gotten my health and fitness groove back. For 4 or so days I was eating like a rockstar on the new Weight Watchers plan which, for good reason, cracks down on sugar intake. I was eating high protein, whole foods, and even found a few treats that satisfied a sugar craving without containing much sugar at all. I noticed that I woke up on my own (I don’t usually set an alarm, as I don’t need to be anywhere, and with CMT, sleep is super important) earlier and feeling more energized. I was able to focus and get a lot done, both physically (like a 2.5 hr gym session and cleaning the house) and mentally with less distraction and exhaustion. I was also able to fall asleep a bit faster AND my skin started to look clearer than it had in ages. Granted, the skin thing could be thanks to the new skincare products I’m trying out, but you never know. The last thing I noticed was my mood was also generally better. I felt closer to my husband romantically, and content with life in general, both of which can be challenges in the everyday life of the wife of a traveling businessman. That topic will eventually get a whole post of it’s own.
Fast forward to two days ago. **Prepare for some real honest confessions and real-talk here** I went shopping to get stuff for an Easter candy post I’m working on..which meant that the “stuff” was really a variety of Easter candies. While I worked on photos for my post, I had to open some things to get pictures of the products. Well, needless to say it was more than a few jellybeans or chocolates that made their way into my mouth. Lack of self control is definitely a big issue of mine.. Not only did I experience immediate regret for what I had consumed (especially after knowing all of the Smart Points values, as they were all written down in my notebook next to me), but a few hours later, my body started to feel a bit off.
The next day was no better. First, it was a snow day (winter weather advisory and I had no plans) so I decided to stay in. I treated myself to the delicious Amish cinnamon roll that my mom had given me the night before. Hey, I paired it with fruit, and I’m supposed to treat myself once and awhile. But of course, the cinnamon roll wasn’t the only sugar I ate that day. I might have tasted a few more types of the Easter candy stash after lunch.. The results of the 2 day sugar “binge” blew my mind, even in the midst of my sugary snacking.
First, it was no secret that even after I had more than enough sugar filled goodness, all I wanted was more! I realized just how insane and dark the sugary rabbit hole really was. It didn’t matter how full I was or how much sugar I had already consumed, all I could think about was wanting more sugar! There was my lightbulb moment: It really is an addiction.
I also paid close attention to how I was feeling, from the Easter candy photoshoot and throughout the next day. I woke up groggy and sleepy, with little desire to do anything but sit on the couch (with sugary snacks) and watch Netflix all day. At the same time, my mind and body were both racing, hopped up on sugar, but unable to focus on any one task. It was a miracle I managed to get yesterday’s blog post up at all. I was unsatisfied and unmotivated, energized (sugar rush) but exhausted at the same time, and my body felt gross; bloated, confused, and just blah. It was horrible. Why did I let myself do that? Why would anyone let themselves do that??
I went to bed last night seriously reflecting on the past 48 hours and the over sugared hours they had been. It was then that I truly accepted that all I had been reading over the past several months about sugar and how bad really is for the body is TRUE. It’s not something that should be considered by just some people, but everyone needs to take a look at what they’re eating. To be honest, I don’t think that my sugar craze would have been such an “ah ha” moment if it wasn’t for how awesome I was feeling in the several days before. There was clearly a direct connection between how awesome I was feeling when I was eating a healthy, balanced, low sugar diet versus how terrible I was feeling after those 2 days of the complete opposite. Needless to say I woke up today making a different kind of commitment to myself. Not only did I want to actually eat the way I was “supposed” to, but after acknowledging just how crappy the sweet stuff makes me feel, I knew I wanted to approach treats differently too.
Now, for those that know me, I am a chocoholic through and through, so I’m definitely not saying I’m giving up sugar for good. I personally don’t believe in depriving yourself of any specific food unless it causes a legitimate health issue (like eating peanut butter if you’re highly allergic to peanuts), because feeling deprived can lead to bigger binges and other problems. However, my approach will definitely be different from here on out. I am going to continue the trend I had going (until my candy run at Target) which was to have very minimal dessert options at home (which were low sugar to begin with) and treat myself to the “real” desserts every so often, like taking dessert home after a dinner out. That way, there’s only one serving, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I’m sure I’ll have a post on managing a sweet tooth later on.
I guess my whole point to my really long ramble is this: Friends, what you are reading about sugar is 110% true. I’m not basing that statement on any scientific research whatsoever. I’m simply basing that on my personal experience, and for me, that is enough of a reason to reconsider my relationship with sugar entirely. Get educated, read the articles you see floating around blogs and Facebook, and believe me when I say that cutting down your sugar intake will impact your body and mind in a positive way. The other day I actually said “I felt like superwoman for a few hours.” That’s a pretty awesome way to feel. If cutting back on sugar can make me feel like that for a little while every day, it’s totally worth it.
What have your experiences with sugar been? Let me know in the comments below! I want to know your story, knowledge, and thoughts on this hot button topic.